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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

THE EVIL THAT MEN DO                     117

"Even so," replied the Emperor, "why is it that everybody at the court
regards it as an oppressive measure?"

"Please give me the names of those persons," Wang Anshih replied.

We need not go into the details of this dirty squabble. What happened
I was that the trade dictator in his powerful position had begun to defy
the board of finance and had insulted one Shiieh. Tseng Pu began to
side with the latter and attacked the trade dictator, who was removed
from office. Huiching and Tseng Pu were appointed to investigate his
case. The two men had always heartily disliked each other, both being
in a position relative to Wang Anshih similar to the position of Stalin
and Trotsky under Lenin. In the course of the investigation Huiching
began to attack Tseng Pu, and Tseng Pu began to attack Huiching,
and Tseng Pu was overthrown.

jx This was only the beginning of the trouble. Huiching was left the
sole head of the government. He not only took the occasion of Cheng
Shia's case to dismiss Wang AnshihYbrother Ankuo, but with the help
of the ubiquitous Dunquan tried to implicate Wang Anshih himself in
a local rebellion in Shantung, motivated by a prince. Wang Anshih
was charged with complicity in the plot because he was a friend of
one of the members of the rebellion. There was another cabinet
minister, also nominally a premier, who could not get along with
Huiching, and he hoped to get Wang Anshih back to the court to
check Huiching. He sent a secret message to Wang Anshih, besides
asking the Emperor to cashier Huiching and make Wang Anshih
prime minister once more. The charge of rebellion was a serious one,
and Wang made the trip from Nanking to the capital in seven days.

Wang Anshih had really nothing to do with the plotting of the
rebellion, and he was again made premier in February 1075. It was a
little awkward for Dunquan, who now lost no time in turning against
Huiching and coming over to Wang Anshih's side. In order to bribe
himself back into Wang's favour, he decided to sell out Huiching.
Without the knowledge of Wang Anshih himself, Dunquan plotted
with Wang's son to prosecute Huiching for extortion of 5,000,000 cash
from a merchant at Huating; and the court had Huiching dismissed
^nd appointed a magistrate. Dissatisfied with the easy escape of
Huiching, Dunquan and the trade dictator, Lu Chiawen, reopened
the prosecution and had Huiching detained in the prison oLthe
imperial censorate awaiting trial.

One after another the members of the once powerful administration
fell into disgrace. Dunquan was no exception. Still as energetic as ever,
he had seen that Huiching had fallen and observed that the Emperor
was growing tired of Wang Anshih himself. With his great genius for
scheming, he thought the next men to serve would bo Wang Anshih's
son and son-in-law. He submitted a petition to the Emperor asking for